head
   He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he gaze long into the abyss... only to find his own reflection.

Up and down, inside and out, and all around.

2/22/10

I'm on the bus to Boston and I am very scared. As is often usual, I am not certain what it is that I am scared of. This is the 2nd bus trip back up since I moved and the first trip was anxious free.

As I ponder, my feelings now are: I have no one to meet and I have to mange subway and rail trips to meet a new psychiatrist, and I have yet to hear from my Therapist (but who always calls back late in the evening).

There are the bottles of beer stashed in my closet that I have been doing some pondering about for the last few days. (I stopped the Antabuse last week.)

Am I going to go down that route again? As still my meds do NOT work, the alcohol is so compelling! Still!

~

I shall call C. when I get up to my apt. I called C. but got voicemail and I left a rambling message. (Note: 3 days later no call back -- I understand this though -- I have not called people back at times.)

I drank 3 beers, did not get "high" or "feel good" -- they just made me feel bloated.

I slept well. It was good being in a place alone.

2/25/10

Wow. There is a new young woman at PHP. So beautiful, just a touch of makeup, colorful clothes, Converse all-Stars! To see her eyes light up when I said [I played a video] game last night and she asked, "Which one?" sigh

I want these things so bad yet I am so fearful of it...

She reminds so much of [a past friend]. And I am sad. What a waste, what a mess, what the fuck! I look back over our years together and see all my faults and fears that caused me to screw up our relationship so badly. I was (still am?) a fuck-up.

If I only knew then what I know now I'd still have her as a friend.

~

"Do you know the five Axis? It's good for you to know them. Sometimes we assume patients know these things." [Some doctor sometime said that to me.]

~

The anger that I used to feel at disappointment, and I would break things, eventually showed me that the anger was useless and solved nothing.

But this fear of an action of mine causing another person to hurt me is totally uncontrollable. Wham! It's there. Crippling me.

Closing my eyes and imaging the situation seems to bring me back to a child and absolutely not wanting to even move, to breathe -- to bring attention to myself less... something bad happens. When I continue with the thinking a dark shape appears... I am in a room. It is dark. The dark shape is in shadow -- tail, like a person -- a man. FUCK

Don't come closer!

That's it. That's the fear.

Continuing the feeling (as it turns to from thinking) I feel that I am standing in the middle of a strange room -- dark, cluttered, dusty, like a basement or barn. I was brought here.

The feeling connects with another old feeling of being brought to a farm with old rusting cars, a barn, a house, fences, a pine forest nearby.

Was I brought into that barn? The feeling is pretty strong.

I feel sick to my stomach now as I write this.

~

(Remember the mushroom trip.)

3/12/10

IOP.

Day 1

The guy is wearing a Chartroom sweatshirt!

Random drug tests.

Check In

Most have cellphones and are on them.

~

Everyone here is social. They all have families, they all are around people/family who still drink. They socialize. I do not. I do not relate with any of them.

~

10:00am

"Let's separate into groups."

Shit...

"I can't do that," is all I can say.

This was a group about saying "No" to old situations and friends -- I have no friends and I encounter no old situations.

Day 2

"G., you're late. You're a half hour late. Normally we wouldn't let you in but they started late." There was a touch of anger or disgust in her voice.

~

FUCK THIS

I DO NOT NEED TO HEAR WOE-IS-ME-I-NEED-A-JOB-MY-HUSBAND-LEFT-ME-I'M-PREGNANT-LIVING-IN-A-SOBER-HOUSE-WHERE-PEOPLE-ARE-STILL-USING drunkalogues any more.

~

I am one of them those; the crazies; standing dazed and confused in the med-line, eager, pleading even, for my medication. God is where? Not here with me.

3/18/10

[This was written during my traveling to Pennsylvania to make a court appearance.]

The hook has become a knife.

The twist of it repeats... the final leaving of yet another outpatient program -- this time early. On the bus back to the city; at the terminal waiting to go back; on the T to the airport waiting at the terminal; on a small prop plane, old sweat permeating it's existance... There is nothing left for the blade to hurt.

The prop throbs -- life just goes on, dull, numb, unforgiving. Why is it that so much of my life has been in the heads of others? How much have I let them [in]? How so often did I lose control?

But I shall reverse this journey -- going back the same way I come tonight. Eventually a bus back to... What? Broken promises? Ill-fated dreams?

Relying on others does not work. That's what went wrong.

Those who should have help the child -- as a child need help -- did not.

I gaze down, looking for something, some meaning. Is there nothing but gratification for us? Or to serve, as some as some philosopher said? What compels one to live?

I know what I want, but then there is this... Wall.

~

Well, I'm here.

The Judge was glad I was there -- he did not like the continuances, and I saw it on his faces -- his face, and the one he shows the court, which this day, this time, consisted of me, my lawyer and the arresting officer. Who at one point I apologized to. "You were quite gracious," he told me to my surprise.

It was all over in a matter of minutes.

"He's here and doing all the right things," was my lawyers statement for this initial hearing.

There was a request of a "waiver". At one point -- for what I'm not sure -- the officer was asked if "this" was OK with him and he said yes. The Judge left -- came back with papers to sign. I did so. And that was that.

Now it's all behind the scenes work between the DA and the PO and the Judge's office and my lawyer. (The bulk of the work.)

And so I go home, no better no worse -- still alone.

[End of the trip.]

3/27/10

My problem is not alcohol. This will come as DENIAL by every DR, RN, SW, CW I have ever met. For your consideration I have recently consumed six shots of 12 year old, single malt scotch in much less hours. My head is clear. I have no cravings of a drunkard. I can walk in a straight line. I cannot -- emphatically -- drive a car. I am aware. I am responsible.

Why, though, I must ask, must face, is this situation different? As so many times before I'd be a complete fuck-up with this much booze in me.

It is not quite clear except that there are no people involved beside me. And I just worked hard at what I did.

~

It's Chinatown now -- I should be happy here -- I could be happy here. But I am alone, and that brings up memories, fleeting, simple few memories of time spent with dear, kind friends. And I miss that very painfully. I could be sharing this night -- I should be sharing this.

4/2/10

My problem is alcohol. No, one of my problems is alcohol.

("I drink, get drunk, fall down, no problem!" the old drunkard's quote goes. It is not funny when one is sober.)

I cannot manage my alcohol -- my brain just stopped working when the only bottle of what I wanted -- the one that stuck in my head -- was a 750ml. You see, I can take a six-pack and a 250ml, and that lasts into the night and I fall asleep when they are gone -- with some sort of lonely lack of pain as a measure of comfort.

But a 750? The problem is, I won't stop, and if I cross that intoxication level into blackness I will continue into oblivion. There is the empty bottle in the sink. I don't know what day it is. There is a bruise over my eye -- I must have fallen or bumped it somehow. Shit, I hope that I had not gone out sometime in the night during the oblivion. It looks like a good 'ole shiner.

I realize that it's Monday. It's nine AM and a pint is waiting for me just a few blocks to the early opening liquor store -- there too is a kind of "med-line". I imagine the stigma, the stare of others as I go in and get my fix. Just a half pint -- of course, back home, and that's gone, along with any will power to do anything else. I go out and this time get a pint.

It's suddenly nine AM Tuesday and a swig left.

Well, it has happened again.

Why suddenly now do I get it in my head to not go the the liquor store but to the ER -- a place I had vowed I would never go back to.

[From there I go Inpatient again. Beth Israel I think.]

5/4/10

I was reading and encountered the word "deer" and I thought of the time I saw a deer in a WMA [Wildlife Management Area] and how I'd like to go back there. I wondered how long it would take me to walk there, and my mind went on and on, and then suddenly I realized I wasn't reading any more.

~

I overheard someone saying the common phrase, "A man stands up for what he believes in." But, what if you are like me and don't believe in anything?

5/21/10

Friday morning.

I've got that "something is going to happen" feeling. It is pretty strong.

(And it lasted a long time and remains with me slightly still.)

6/2/10

Well, I'm off to PA and I am not panicking!

You don't know how much better I feel. A weight has been lifted, hooks have been released, knives have been removed -- the wounds may still be bleeding but the pain is all but gone.

Now, if only the healing can begin.

I offer a short prayer: May all go well with all people everywhere.

Today is a beautiful, overcast day. The green of new leaf growth is a welcome sight -- it seemed like winter lasted for years, and now, all of a sudden, it is the middle of spring.

The winter was bitter cold in the city and I was totally alone and miserable in addition to being scared all the time -- of course, the highlight of my Winter was Arbour-Fuller HRI. What a waste of time that was -- and I have to pay for some of it!

But that's the past ('cept for the bills).

Go forward I must.

I knew Lorazepam would be one of the magic bullets: Lorazepam and Zyprexa.

Along with Therapy I passed up changes to drink when the cravings were at their peak the first 2 days out of the hospital.

I am on the bus for Boston again and I am OK.

I hope you are too.

~

I just had a mini panic -- I thought, "Where is my passport?" I wanted to bring it and use it for boarding, and, I don't know how PA will deal with a license suspension.

So I forgot my passport (which I really do not heed) and packed thinking, "Where is my license?" It is where it is -- in my wallet. And I write this and relax.

(This is how my condition manifests itself: panic over every little thing.)

Oh, oh. Without warning my heart rate increases and a wave of psychic pain moves through my body. For no reason I can discern.

Fear creeps in the tiniest crevice.

The bus is getting closer to the destination...

Scotch on the rocks.

I know -- I have to stop. I don't even really feel like a drink, I mean I am not panicky. (Dewars sucks.) I won't finish it. Like I could afford to get drunk today!

I have to not drink anymore -- please, please, please, don't drink any more.

~

For $50.00 I upgraded to first class. There is only a slight benefit, although my seat is a single (just me).

~

Fuck, I just ordered a Bloody Mary. I kind of knew I would given the opportunity.

Scotch and Vodka probably do no mix well in the body.

You see how I am. Loserish.

When settled in in my first class seat, and the stewardess asked me if I wanted something to drink, without thought, without emotion, I unhesitatingly asked for a Bloody Mary. It was as if my mind was sort of shut down, or on auto-pilot. I completely forgot what I had previously written.

I have to be careful.

~

Time for a pill.

~

Some security.

While boarding a flight between Phil. and Allentown someone said to the attendant, "Someone left this purse behind."

"OK," the attendant said, taking it and putting it on the stand.

When all passengers were on, a flight attendant held it up asking if anyone left behind a purse -- a pastel colored purse. I don't think anyone claimed it.

I wonder where it ended up?

6/2/10

4:00PM

I am at Jack Creek, a Mexican-American restaurant in Allentown. (The food was good.)

The bar in front of me is filled with top-shelf liquor.

The glass in front of me is ice water.

I think I can make it -- it all depends on court tomorrow.

6/3/10

4:20AM

I can't sleep, but I fell asleep yesterday about 5:00 in the evening.

I can think myself into anxiety as I can imagine all sorts of bad things happening to me in court. I won't be "dressed as if for a job interview" as was said in one of the court documents. Of course, what they mean is dress in conservative attire, such as a dress shirt and tie. I have neither. (Any job requiring such attire I would not apply for.)

So, I want to be dressed right. I can only hope that the Judge does not hold it against me. I can only hope that things do not go bad for me. I can only hope.

Life has not been kind to me. And I have made many mistakes and have even done some bad things--

I am ashamed of myself and this day I recall a few of those bad things -- which I have always been full of regret and remorse about. Nothing new there.

I am reminded of seeing (time to get sick to my stomach) Pat Robertson (channel surfing) gleefully, head bobbing and grinning, how after tragedy (9/11) people turn to (his idea of) God. Perhaps they do.

For me, tragedy just brings out shame, regret and remorse that I have not been a better person.

Luckily, I have been a good person for a long time with the exception of why I am in Pennsylvania today.

Do I wish prayer would help? Yes.

Do I wish God would be on my side? Yes.

However, lacking and evidence or data whatsoever that prayer works or that God exists, I can only hope that by whatever laws run this Universe things do not turn out too bad for me.

I can only hope things go well. That is my prayer: Hope.

Of course, I also hired a lawyer to help me.

But I remain scared, really scared.

I have been staring at these words for a while. I want to, oddly, caress them, to hold them close. It's like this is all I have going for me, this notebook and these words.

[About here in the notebook I drew a little stick figure at the bottom of the page with a long, curving, dotted line to the top to a little circle. I wrote this by it: "This is what hope is like: Something way far away and connected to me by a thread."]

My room is near where many small birds hang out -- I can hear their singing; could hear them last night too. Perhaps it is a good sign.

6:00AM

I just took a 1mg Lorazepam about an hour ago and just took a 5mg Zyprexa. I remain mostly calm, although I wish I can get some sleep.

8:40AM, Courtroom 2A

Fuck, there are a lot of people here, probably about 60 or 70.

"These people (coming up) are going to be coming back. And when that's done, this guy (indicating) will make a speech and then the Judge will come out. So we are going to be here for a while."

9:50AM

In court, 40 or so of us moved to another courtroom and the ARD program was explained -- in full -- to us. I am nervous, trying to "let go". But a shout out to Lorazepam is in order.

Luckily out of state licenses are not confiscated, but the court may contact in some way my state's RMV.

The guy said there ware on average 1,600 DUIs in Lehigh county per year.

10:00AM

Judge: ARD 30 please stand. ARD 60 please stand. We get called up one at a time.

My attorney telling me that "I won't need to do anything now and to go to G9." [forget what that means]

1:00PM

Done and out!!!

1:10PM

$1,709.95

I went to a pizza joint and had an Old English 400 malt liquor. Obviously I am going to keep drinking.

I know the laws of booze. An alcoholic can drink a few times in moderation before Fucking Wham! Non-stop guzzling and blackout.

2:30PM

Five hour wait, sitting at the same bar where I drank several scotches before. I have one in front of me now. Gack, it tastes terrible, not like before. It's like it is not Glenlivet. And it was small, like exactly 1.5oz.

2:40PM

I decided to stop drinking and start eating. Subway is good enough.

I think I'll go back to beer when I go back to the bar.

4:00PM

There is a softball game on the telly and someone hit a home run, and when running to home she ran into a crowd of many of her cheering teammates.

This camaraderie is something I have never experienced.

6:40PM

The beer goes down like water. I have no CNS to suppress -- I am not in a panic attack, so the alcohol just rots in my stomach.

8:40PM

How could I pass up the Sky Asian Bistro and an Asian Bloody Mary? Let's try the yellowtail roll and see how it is. The ABM is (with wasabi & soy) excellent. The sushi was very good.

"Eat Well, Drink Well, Live Long."

9:35PM

I had a 2nd B.M. and now, sitting at the airport gate waiting for the plane, my body feels the effect of all the alcohol -- slight headache, high pulse and almost certain high blood pressure. Gee, kind of like being dehydrated.

I am reminded of when that (yet another) incompetent (or at least unlearned) psychiatrist said to me: "So your drinking is making you anxious."

6/4/10

10:00AM At Alston Cafe

I got back from PA about 1:00 this morning -- I hope I don't have to do such a thing ever again. I am in PA's ARD program and have no idea what it is.

I am tired, my feet hurt, and on top of that I am tired and my feet hurt.

Note: I ordered a double espresso here at the Alston Cafe and the server asked if I wanted water in it. !?!?!? Yeah, me too.

Oh yeah, there was a beer left over in my apt. I placed it in front of an open window for it to cool overnight. (It worked.) Saving it for morning.

Well, I drank one swig and then poured the rest down the drain. I am not going down that road again.

10:12AM

After breaking my fast, egg sandwich and double espresso, my HR & BP increased and it, of course, feels like anxiety. But my brain knows the "anxiety" is from the food and coffee. (I don't know why I get anxiety symptoms after eating. I just do. Perhaps it is just a response to a sudden increase of the digestion of carbs.)

It is NOT this kind of anxiety that prevents me living a proper life, not the kind of anxiety that keeps me isolated and afraid.

6/5/10

Under Attack

Anxiety that is. Sent a card + Get a card = Anxiety.

What does a child do when he fears the person raising him?

8/8/10

[I managed to go to Burning Man this year. Unfortunately I was pretty messed up mentally as many things did not go well -- I kept a diary, but can't bear to transcribe it... Except for this day's entry on the flight home.]

Sad. Crying. Why me?

I see people and they all look so normal. Gawd why am I in so much pain? Is it because I feel such an idiot? Such an utter failure? Or is it just because? Is it genetic? Brain chemistry?

What did I do -- if anything -- to deserve this? Or is it, "deserve got nothing to do with it"?

Why? The eternal question. The health care/psychiatry industry has been asking this question for decades now. So too have I.

Why does a shadow cause such fear? Why do thoughts intrude so vividly? So violently? Why does the littlest of disappointments cause such severe pain and doubt?

I could go on -- I don't want to go on -- I have to go on.

I just, simply, do not want to carry the pain any longer.

Please make it stop. Please.

9/12/10

The Lorazepam had stopped working and I had been drinking heavily -- I called my sister to bring me to the hospital. While there they gave me Lorazepam 1mg 3X a day -- which doesn't work. I broke a plastic cup and tried to cut into a vein on my wrist -- not sharp enough I was unsuccessful.

Don't mess with the demon. You lied to me. You said you would talk to me.

[I ended up in Arbour Hospital (I think the one in Jamacia Plain, but I had recorded it a "AF/AP"). See: Inpatient - Arbour Hospital.]

10/30/10

11:00am

Saturday morning -- on empty stomach 2 Fosters -- waffling between trying to relax and doing something about my 20K debt -- bankruptcy or just living with no money for, um, a long time.

So I get this anxiety deep inside my chest: abject fear, still with a couple of beers -- which don't make a dent.

So, I take 8-9 Lorazepam (1mg) and another beer just to see what happens

12:30pm

I actually feel slightly better -- but I DON'T feel high! Just some of my fear is gone.

[late evening, can't read the time]

Took 3 Nardil. I fell asleep. A couple of hours later I am anxiety ridden again. Took 600mg Seroquel. Nothing.

Midnight

Horrible irritation and agitation. Wobbly.

10/31/10

2:00pm

Took .2 mg Clonidine and ?mg of Trazodone.

I am also drinking a cup of tea (Earl Grey). It is now 3:00 and still very anxious, in fact, my BP & HR are way the fuck up there.

10:15pm

Going to take another Trazodone (CW is at night; maybe so you sleep though the anxiety?)

Oh, and the Depakote too. I don't feel so anxious as I did this after noon.

And that ends my diary for the year 2010. Somehow I skipped all of the Winter.

Notes
  1. Partial Hospitalization Program — an Outpatient somewhere in Boston, Mass. I did not record where.
  2. Reference to when I tripped on a whole bunch of mushrooms while camping in a New York state park. More later... it was very interesting and thought provoking.
  3. Intensive Outpatient Program — another Outpatient program somewhere in Boston.
  4. A bar near where I used to live!
  5. That was the last IOP related entry.
  6. I have a long association with flying and Bloody Marys.
  7. My current (2014-2016) Psychiatrist reminds me, "If you try to find out why you are doomed."
  8. My then Psychiatrist put me on Nardil (Phenelzine — I had researched MAOI and thought it might help). Turns out that Nardil was a bad thing for me. More later...
  9. Yes, my drinking and abusing medication is causing anxiety! Just not the "My anxiety" that stays with me when I am sober (even for long periods). More later...
  10. I don't know what "CW" here is.
  11. I actually forget where/when/how I got to be on Depakote.

References:

Arbour Hospital
Nardil (Phenelzine)
MAOI (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor)
Trazodone
Depakote (Valproate)

#
Writing Down the Pain
I'd like just once to fall asleep feeling good about myself. Just once. Drunken stupors do not count.